HARKER HEIGHTS — Nineteen vacant single-family homes, duplexes and fourplexes in the far northwest corner of Harker Heights are slated to be demolished soon, and a dozen other occupied homes in the same neighborhood could meet the same fate.
The City Council on Tuesday awarded a contract for demolition of the wood-frame structures on Lynn Drive, which were deemed unsafe, substandard and dangerous by the city’s Building Standards Commission.
“They’re dangerous structures, (because of) lack of maintenance — foundations, electrical, plumbing, just all substandard,” Steve Philen, building official, said.
The city began inspecting the vacant houses in March.
In August, officials took their findings to the Building Standards Commission, which ordered the property owners, Buttross Properties of Austin, to rehabilitate or demolish the buildings within 90 days.
Fred Morris, planning and development director, met with Buttross Properties at least 10 times over the past year to discuss the Lynn Drive problems, he said.
While some remodeling was done to a few of the houses, which were all built in 1948, the property owners failed to take the steps necessary within the Building Standards Commission’s time frame to save them from demolition.
“They were required to submit to us a plan that would address how they would address the entire problem, not just one unit,” Morris said. “The assumption was — and we had this verified by our city attorney — that because they were all on the same property, they were installed at the same time and the same age, that the conditions carried to all the units.”
Philen recently inspected most of the occupied houses on Lynn Drive. Although he would not reveal the results of those inspections, he said the findings would be brought to the Buildings Standards Commission in January or February.
“I’ve done the inspections, so that’s all I can say right now,” Philen said. “It’s still a life-and-health issue, and I think it’s worse because the people live in it.”
Buttross Properties of Austin did not return phone calls from the Herald.
(See additional story in Friday's edition of the Harker Heights Herald.)